Letters to the Editor
February 19, 2015

To the Editor:
As new resident of Fillmore, I like parts of this charming small town particularly the area around the historic train station, the two blocks on Central Avenue surrounding the defunct Fillmore Movie Theater (future films/plays), City Hall’s fountains, bicycle paths and now lovely, lush surrounding mountain landscape, big full moons and starlit nights, dramatic screaming sirens punctuating Saturdays gun fire into Sunday. Unfortunately, earlier this evening I was approached by a young, hostile teenage boy at one of our local corner stores. He asked me for a cigarette in slurred Spanish/English and foaming beer breath.
I attempted to politely decline his request and walked outside where my bicycle was upright on its kickstand next to the store’s front door. Before departing, I enjoyed the last few moments of evening sky light. Again, he approached me outside (with his taller male friend) only this time he called me a ‘Bitch’ and a few other derogatory words. My response - “Wow, do you talk to your sister or mother like this”? Bam. He shoved my bike causing the contents of my front basket to spill sideways onto the sidewalk next to my new bicycle.
Frankly, I was more stunned wondering why he chose me, a small 56 year old woman to lash-out at.
The storekeeper said, “Call the police, I saw it on video. He lives up the street”. “Really”?
So, I did call 911. Because he didn’t rob me or physically assault my person there was nothing to do but make a report. The ‘storekeeper’ declared to police that he knew nothing! Surprising? Not really. It’s a weird, sick, game humans sometimes play. The policeman made sure I got home safely. Manners.
Maybe Fillmore is not a good place to be a senior citizen after all.
C.H. Robinson


To the Editor:
On Tuesday February 10th, 2015 the Fillmore City Council had a lengthy closed session to consider the lease agreement between Fillmore Senior Center Inc. and the city of Fillmore.
Three months ago, the city elected not to renew its lease with Fillmore Senior Center Inc. Because the city chose not to move forward with lease negotiations, there were no actions required by law to be reported out of closed session at the city council meeting. Out of respect for Fillmore Senior Center Inc.’s board, the city manager provided a letter to the President of their board stating that the city will not be renewing the lease with Fillmore Senior Center Inc., prior to releasing this information to the public.
Since the letter was given to the President of Fillmore Senior Center Inc., the city has received several questions about why the city decided to not renew the lease. The city has no intention of closing the senior center and/ or removing programs. Instead, as the council has repeatedly stated that the senior center is a very important asset to our beautiful community, the city council has publicly prioritized the center services and have instructed staff to reach out to other communities to determine what programs we can bring to our community to enhance the services we are providing at the center. City staff will also be reaching out to the current center volunteers and instructors in an effort to retain their valuable services and tradition of excellence as part of the senior center’s programing. The council will also be considering making capital improvements to the center later this spring. Staff has indicated that this is a necessity to meet the needs of the centers participants.
In addition to the City’s desire to expand the programming being offered at the Senior Center, the decision not to renew the lease agreement is also partially the result unacceptable behavior by some of the people who have been running the center. The council has complaints about the way in which the board members interact with and treat the community. While the volunteers and instructors have done an incredible job to bring multiple services to center, the board has been found to be less than inviting to some seniors. One resident told me at a council meeting that the board members were rude and that she did not go to the center because of this. With the city taking over the center, this resident told me that she will try the center again, and hoped that things change. It’s my understanding that other council members and staff have received similar comments and treatment from the board.
Moreover, as a result of the board’s behavior, the city has been the subject of 3 harassment claims from employees at the center, one of which resulted in a settlement payment by the city in the approximate amount of $130,000.00. Despite the board’s claims that “no one told them” of the problems, they were sent letters and asked in person to curb the bad behavior of certain board members to no avail. The city has a responsibility to ensure the public safety and to provide a service to our community’s seniors second to none. Unfortunately, because the board is a separate legal entity, and the board has refused to modify its behavior after the city’s repeated requests, the city has not been in a position to be able to meet these expectations, leaving the city’s only option to decline to renew the lease.
I am excited for the senior center to move forward in a manner that preserves the positivity of the activities, volunteers, instructors and participants of the senior center while ensuring that our community has the very best active adult center possible.
Douglas Tucker, Mayor City of Fillmore